Rafael Nadal’s disastrous season continues as he was eliminated in last 16 match by world number 25 Lucas Pouille. It was a hard-fought victory for Pouille as he managed to edge over the Spaniard 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8-6). The defeat means that 2016 is the first year since 2004 in which Nadal has failed to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final.
It was an incredible match as it went down the wire. The first set was clinched by Pouille after he routed Nadal to win it 6-1. The 22 year old French national made it look easy as his serves and returns were fabulous. The break after the first set gave Nadal time to regroup himself. Second set saw him returning to his old standards as his game looked more formidable. He won the second set quite easily as Pouille slipped to pressure mounting on him. Second set saw some unforced errors from the French player as he made some double faults.Nadal took the second set 6-2.
The match turned out to be interesting as the third set saw some fierce competition from both the players. At the end Pouille edged Nadal again beating him 6-4. Pouille serves were fascinating as he produced quite a lot of aces. Nadal went down fighting again and was struggling to find his way through the French player. His old touch was missing and he managed to hang on to some net points and unforced errors from Pouille. The break again turned out to be the saviour for Nadal as he changed his game plan.In the fourth set Nadal used his drop tactic which turned out to be effective.He often cut shot the rally using drop shots making Pouille run for points. But in return Pouille fought back with some powerful forehand which earned him some valuable games and made it tough for Nadal. It was 2-2 and went down to the last set. The final set was a nail-biting one. Both Nadal and Pouille finished on 6-6 and it went down to the tie breaker.Both the players gave everything what they’ve got to win the match.At the end it was Pouille who held his nerve to clinch victory with a forehand winner. Nadal was distraught after his exit from the round of 16.
“I am close to being 100% again and I believe I can have a couple more good years,” said Nadal at the post match presentation whose most recent Grand Slam title came with his ninth French Open in 2014.